Monday, July 10, 2006

Celebrities performed at The Broadmoor

QUESTION: I tell my friends that at one time in Colorado Springs there was a delightful woman who booked top performers at The Broadmoor. I took my small kids to see Liberace, the Smothers Brothers and Dinah Shore. Can you please look up the years and the promoter’s name?
- E.R.T.

ANSWER: The celebrity-performer scene at The Broadmoor got its start between World War II and 1961, when headliners such as Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Mickey Rooney and Gordon McRae performed at the Hawaiian Village nightclub on the second floor of the Broadmoor Golf Club. The much larger Broadmoor International Center was built in 1961 and New Yorker Carol Truax, a well-known cookbook author and professor, was brought in as the summer booking agent. She drew big-name acts to the area.

In 1968, a Gazette Telegraph entertainment columnist wrote, “Carol has been fortunate in being able to attract the big names each year, paying them less than they could command in some of the metropolitan areas, simply because they like it here. In most cases, the personalities are willing to take the cut in price because they could combine a vacation in beautiful Colorado Springs with a few days or a week’s work. That’s the primary reason why personalities such as Liberace consent to come back time after time.”
Through the 1960s and early 1970s, the Smothers Brothers were here, as were Rowan and Martin, Goldie Hawn, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Victor Borge, Bob Newhart, Marlene Dietrich, Carol Channing, Miriam Makeba, Chuck Mangione and many others. Harry Belafonte and his 22-member troupe came here to try out their Las Vegas act.

The end wasn’t documented but, Broadmoor photographer Bob McIntyre said “what killed it was Vegas. Liberace, for example, got all the money from the seats and there was no way to keep up with the top dollar they started receiving in Vegas. It went out of sight and wasn’t worth their time to come here.”


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